After you have completed Year 13, you may choose to have a year out prior to choosing to study further at university or a degree level apprenticeship. There are many benefits to making this decision, most particularly for those of you who are not yet sure what pathway you wish to take. In addition, many skills and experiences can be acquired during a gap year which are beneficial towards applications for university and advanced apprenticeships.
Why Choose a gap year?
You may choose a gap year to develop your soft skills and experiences in life prior to committing further to studying at a higher level either at university or a degree apprenticeship. Doing this can help develop independence and self- confidence. You could gain by working in a part time environment or working specifically in a chosen career to assist with your future.
Some students who have chosen highly competitive career areas like medicine, dentistry or law may choose to have a year out to gain work experience in a related area to increase their marketability to competitive universities. Relevant work experience will enhance your personal statement.
Applying to Oxbridge or a top Sutton Trust 13 university (ie: the most competitive Russell Group universities) once you have obtained your A Level grades could increase your chances of being successful and allow you to focus on your exams in Year 13 instead.
Some students use their gap year to research into different career areas before committing to additional studies either by way of an apprenticeship or at university. This could be a year where you use to explore a range of opportunities before committing to a pathway.
Travelling can be an excellent way to develop your soft skills, self- confidence and independence. Students who work to finance their travels develop a wide range of skills that are highly sought after by employers in the future.
Some students may choose to take a gap year to improve their grades and apply for a more prestigious university.
You can choose to spend some time travelling and working for a charity developing your work skills.
Some students choose to use their gap year by gaining some relevant work experience or an internship.
Whatever your reason for a Gap Year, consider what you are hoping to gain from it?
Whatever your decision, you should consider the more competitive universities and subjects should plan their year out wisely and get advice from their current sixth form team. Whatever the choice the planning is essential.
All students considering taking a gap year with the view of applying to some courses at university should contact the universities before they choose to take a year out. For example some universities offering maths consider that maths is a subject that does not lend itself to having a year out from studying.
It is worth noting that during your year out, you can request help from your former academy with your application to university. You should make sure that your academy are aware of your plans and that you speak to them no later than mid-September of the year before you intend to go to university so that they have time to process your reference.
There are a number of organisations that offer planned gap years and we have selected a few for you to research. There is a cost to some of the arranged gap years although they have a wide selection of different opportunities. A couple of the websites offer internships and a year in industry.